Unbelievable. After 33.27 miles in the last 6 days I was able to set a PR at the Valentine 10k. Additionally, day 2 of my action packed 3 day weekend (or the first 15.2 miles of 41.4) are now in the books. Logic says that I shouldn't have ran a PR after logging so many miles in at a much slower pace. Logic says that I hadn't come close to setting a PR since my previous best 10k last June. And yet here I am, running the fastest 10k I've ever ran. Unbelievable.
Valentine Fun Run 10k - 46:30 (7:30 pace; 24/279)
I woke up this morning feeling strong. I had ran the 9 on the 9th virtual run yesterday and a nice even pace and this morning was amazed to feel as though I hadn't even ran the previous day. I set off and had a banana while driving the quick 20 minute drive to downtown Campbell. Clear blue skies with temps in the low 50s. Perfect weather to run in.
I'd ran this trail many times. Some in training, some in events, such as the Silicon Valley Marathon and the Jungle Run Half Marathon, so I was very familiar with what I was running. Another great path that follows a creek and some man made percolation ponds, and just as yesterday there is the freeway on the left. Still, a great path. Loud geese and ducks everywhere, ran past a dog park and a fly casting pond. Great atmosphere.
We toed the line at exactly 9 and after giving last minute instructions, and without warning, the race director blew the horn when nobody was ready. Kind of comical how quick he blew the horn after giving his instructions. Judging by past years I guessed that I would be in the top 25 to 50 runners, so I didn't mind moving to the front of the 250 or so runners, which made it easier when the horn went off.
Mile 1: 6:47 - This came in way faster than I wanted. I always start out really fast, perhaps too fast, and this was no exception. But I felt extremely strong at this point. Legs were solid and I wasn't winded.
Mile 2: 7:37 - This was a little more like the pace that I had wanted to run. I came to the first of many small little hills that are unexpected. I tried to maintain my pace, which was perhaps the wrong thing to do on these hills, or any hills for that matter. Anyway, this finally slowed me down and started making my legs feel not so strong. In fact I decided to walk one of the first mini hills, which was my first of three walk breaks this run.
Mile 3: 8:08 - I fell off pace here. The fast first mile combined with all the mini hills was slowing me down. The lead woman passed me up towards the beginning of this mile, which came into play later on in a huge way. Then by the end of mile 3 I took my second walk break as I grabbed some water. As I grabbed the water I saw the 2nd place woman coming into the turn around. I pushed on.
Mile 4: 7:36 - Shortly after the turn around the 2nd place woman came up alongside me. She had been chasing/pacing herself off of my pace and began encouraging me to keep on keeping on because I was pulling her along at a good pace. I couldn't help but tell her that I had ran 9 miles yesterday and was running a marathon tomorrow and thus would not be able to continue pushing her pace, but she was all optimism. Her name was Linda. Soon enough I was able to hold on to and maintain my pace. There is something about running with someone. It gave me a purpose during the race, and I suddenly couldn't let my new running partner down. And besides, I pointed out that the 1st place woman was in sight and we could catch her. Now we both had a purpose behind the run.
Mile 5: 7:48 - We were catching up to the first place woman and it was feeling great. We the predator with our prey in sight. But Linda was falling off pace. We had come on to a mini hill that I trudged up at the same pace, but she didn't maintain that pace. I eventually turned around and waived my arm for her to catch up because numero uno woman was mere seconds ahead of me now, and if I could pull her up closer than she would have a chance in catching her. My encouragement worked and shortly after we both moved past her and my running partner was now numero uno. This was great. With my purpose fulfilled, and just before the end of the mile, I told her to keep pushing on as I took my third walk break for about 15 seconds.
Mile 6: 7:49 - This was an uneventful and very evenly paced mile. Linda was still in front of me about 30 seconds. And then this woman came flying past me, and not the previous number one that we had already passed. I maintained pace and was stretching forward to see if Linda could cross the finish line before this new runner. After all, she wouldn't even know the woman was there until she was passed. But she held on to it and passed mere seconds ahead of the other woman. I shall have to check the results, cause I thought she was passed, but Linda said she wasn't. Ah, hard work come to fruition. Speaking of hard work, I couldn't believe it. I looked up and saw the time break 46:15. I could do it, I could set a PR in a race that I didn't even think had a chance of running well at. Finally pushing it hard I came in at 46:30, a whole 2 seconds faster than my previous best. Only 2 seconds, but I'll take it.
If you're out there Linda, thank you! You helped me just as much as I helped you.
This was a fantastic finish to a race that I had started thinking that a 48 to 49 minute time would be acceptable. The downside? Pushing it so hard stressed my left hamstring. Nothing pulled, and not injury, but a little tender. Low potassium or something. And the other downside is that the mini hills were very tiring on the legs after the 9 miles yesterday. So how will this affect me tomorrow in running 3,000-4,000 feet elevation gain at the trail marathon in Los Gatos? Granted, I will be walking most of the hills, par for the course for my trail running, and my average pace will be 4 minutes slower than today, so who knows.
So much for the theory that you must continue running every week, and if you don't run in a week then your training schedule must be changed or pushed back. So far my week off seems to have only helped my running.
Here's to my first trail marathon tomorrow. Two successes and a PR, what more could I ask for? For tomorrow if I finish the marathon then I will count it as a success. But, if I can run it around 5 hours I'll just be giddy with the overflowing endorphins.